Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Usually sports conversations are my outlet. A chance to talk about something other than news. An opportunity to be entertained, and a chance to build relationships with sports fans.
In fact, that’s how I’ve encouraged people to use sports small talk for more than a decade.
As a sports broadcaster those conversations are also part of my job, and increasingly more stressful because it forces me to consider what happens if sports don’t return. For me sports conversations are less of an outlet and more like a huge reason for concern and worry.
I’ve heard a lot of people say there are bigger things to deal with than sports, and there is truth to that, but there’s also the other side of the coin – without sports a lot of jobs are lost.
Here’s why I’m saying this: there’s more than one point of view to consider. In every conversation. Be careful about being shortsighted in the way you approach small talk.
Just a few...
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s nothing like a series of 30-second sprints in the middle of a three-mile run to hammer home just how long 30-seconds is. It doesn’t sound like much time, but it’s more than enough to leave my legs feeling like Jell-O and make me gasp for air.
That same 30-seconds is all it takes to further a business relationship and engage in productive small talk.
Conversations don’t have to be lengthy to make an impact.
Short and sweet can do the trick. Try these sports topics making headlines this week to get the ball rolling.
I offered that piece of advice to college students starting their careers in sports broadcasting. I can’t only talk to an athlete, coach or executive is when I need something and expect them to open up, share their perspective or give me any answer at all. If I don’t put relationships first they will be more likely to turn and walk the other way when they see me coming instead of giving me a warm greeting and insightful answers.
The need for tough conversations and thoughtful discourse won’t go away. Those conversations can get easier if you build relationships along the way. You don’t have to start with the tough conversation. You can start with small talk.
And those small talk conversations can start with sports, like these topics making news this week.
People have different opinions, life experiences, points of view, desired outcomes, reactions and ways of dealing with things.
We see that playing out in different ways around the country.
Practice starts in day-to-day interactions, that involve less stress and less incendiary topics. Practice starts with your small talk and it can start with a sports conversation. Sports fans disagree all the time about unimportant things like a manager’s decision to pinch-hit in the 8th inning, a play-call on third down, a lead driver pitting with two laps to go in a NASCAR race.
Sports is more than stats and scores. It can be a way to practice listening and disagreeing so that you’re prepared to do that in bigger moments when there are more important things to talk about.
Welcome to a holiday Monday!
Although given the current state of work from home schedules, I’m not sure what a holiday weekend means these days.
Usually I’d remind you these sports conversation starters are great for get-togethers with family and friends. That seems like an unlikely way to spend Memorial Day this year, so I’ll just say these are still interesting talking points for small talk in any conversations you’re having this week, even the ones you might be having with yourself two months into quarantine (Amiright?)
Soccer returned in Germany. NASCAR returned in the United States. A few PGA players returned to the course. Sports leagues continue to discuss plans that would allow them to resume play.
It won’t be what fans are used to experiencing, but it will be live sporting events. It could also lead to emotional conversations.
Yes, I know there’s an option to go down that path. And you and I both know that if you do that you won’t be furthering a relationship, you could be ending one. You don’t have to like the people you work with, but you do need to find a way to work well with them. It’s your job. Don’t make it any harder by picking fights.
With that in mind, here are a few sports topics you can use in small talk this week.
NASCAR returns to live racing this week for the first time in more than two months. You don’t have to be a racing fan to appreciate the return of live sporting events.
Sports won’t look the same as they did before the COVID-19 crisis, but fans will still have a desire to connect and talk about races, games, athletes and events.
It’s one reason to stay up to speed on sports topics making headlines. They’ll come in handy when connecting with sports-loving colleagues and making small talk.
Here are a few to keep you in the know.
In other words, if you think a longer conversation means you’re a better communicator you need to rethink your KPI or success metrics.
Short conversations can be more impactful and make you a more effective communicator if you’re intentional about the message you’re conveying and the time you spend listening.
That’s true for every email, meeting, video conference and small talk opportunity.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time in small talk to make a genuine connection when you’re intentional about how you engage with people.
Here are a few sports topics to help you do that this week.
Were you one of the record-number of people who tuned into the virtual NFL Draft?
Were you also among the group of viewers who enjoyed seeing coaches, GMs, players and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in their own homes?
It’s one of the biggest talking points following a draft that had more suspense around whether or not the technology would work (it did) than the top two quarterbacks in the draft class.
The NFL Draft provided sports-starved fans an outlet and insight they’d never seen. It’s a reminder that sports isn’t just about sports outcomes and work isn’t just about your work product.
Your house might not look like Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Your dog might not get as much attention as Bill Belichick’s but that doesn’t mean co-workers and colleagues don’t want to connect with you on a personal level.
Pull back the curtain a little bit in your small talk. Be willing to chit chat before your calls this week....
Small talk isn’t just about being polite or finding something to say before a meeting starts. It’s the beginning of conversation that could unlock creativity, new ideas or inspiration.
Those are all things that could be lacking while working from home. If you’re missing some of your mojo. If ideas aren’t coming to you as easily as they once did, try having a conversation with someone else. It doesn’t even need to be about work or the problem you’re trying to solve.
One comment can lead to a different thought and a way to unlock your mojo and creativity.
If you’re looking for small talk topics this week, try these sports headlines.